Monday, July 21, 2014

Review of The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness


Title/Author: The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy #3) by Deborah Harkness
Publisher/Date published: Viking, July 15th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches — with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency. In the trilogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowledge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.

***WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOR FIRST TWO BOOKS IN THE SERIES***

So I was one of those people who was not so patiently waiting for The Book of Life. I very much enjoyed the first two books in the series and was like OMG FINALLY I WILL KNOW THE SECRETS IN THE BOOK OF LIFE. I'm not very good with not knowing things.

I have to confess that I had forgotten probably a lot of details from Shadow of Night, because sometimes I felt myself wondering about things that were going that I felt that I should know. Mostly because these are big ass books. And because it has been two years. And also because sometimes I just forget things. But that didn't make me enjoy the writing any less, and I have to say that I could just slide back into this world even if I didn't have all the information I should have. Deborah Harkness just knows how to weave a story, like Diana knows how to weave a spell, and I was (to stay on topic) enchanted. It's a dreamworld and I wish I could live among these people and call them family. Even if I'm still not fully sold on Matthew and his overprotectiveness, but that's the 21st century independent woman in me speaking.

I loved seeing Diana grow throughout The Book of Life and this series as a whole. She learns a lot about herself and her powers and is truly a good person, and courageous and just plain awesome with magic. I loved seeing her go all mama bear, just as I did in Shadow of Night when she became a mom to Annie and Jack. And let me just say that her and Matthew's children are VERY interesting. VERY interesting. I wish I could study them.

But while I really like Diana, I think the characters who have stolen my heart must be Gallowglass, Jack and even Ysabeau with her fierceness. I just want to hug them and they bring comic relief and just a whole lot of love for these wonderful people. And I also found a character to truly despise: Benjamin. When you meet him, you'll understand what I'm talking about. He is awful.

I loved seeing it all come together, though at times I was kinda wondering if maybe Diana wasn't a bit too good to be true, BUT I could put that aside and just enjoy the book, so it was all good. And I do very much like the answers I got, I just wish there would have been even more and maybe there's room for a sequel? Pretty please? There are still some things left to discover in this world I think.

The Book of Life was a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy and I'm still very glad I picked up that copy of A Discovery of Witches at the book store and these characters and this story came into my life.

My rating: 4,5 stars

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Review of The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson


Title/Author: The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1) by Mary E. Pearson
Publisher/Date published: Henry Holt & Company, July 8th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: In this timeless new trilogy about love and sacrifice, a princess must find her place in a reborn world.

In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight — but she doesn’t — and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom — to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive — and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets — even as she finds herself falling in love.

So you guys, I just finished it and I LOVED IT! Seriously, I kept thinking about this story even when I wasn't reading and found myself debating whether I should just cancel some social events so I could keep reading it.

I really enjoyed Mary E. Pearson's writing style, she kept me engaged and made me want to know more. The storytelling easily sucked me into this tale of a princess who just wants someone to love her for who she is and isn't scared to work for what she wants, throw in two boys, one of them being the prince and one an assassins sent to kill her and you have one very happy Daisy. There's a lot of things I still want to know about the Remnants and what exactly of all these stories is real and what's not, but I'm counting on there being more of that in the next book.

I loved Lia. I love how she's determined to make a living for herself and how she manages to outwit the trackers sent after her. I love how she's doesn't hesitate to get her hands dirty and how protective she is of Pauline, her friend. She's also fierce and isn't sitting around waiting to be rescued, but tries do rescue herself. And she's also intelligent and compassionate, so yeah, basically, my kind of girl. I'd want her as a friend if I lived in that world.

And then there's the boys. I'm firmly rooting for one of them because he is awesome and I cannot tell you anything else about it, because it will surely spoil the book for you a bit, but let's just say that I adore him and he is amazing. And also: YES SWOONY TIMES! I loved how their relationship grew and it's just a whole lot of yes.

So this is my kind of book, The Kiss of Deception made my fantasy loving heart very happy! This book came into my life when I needed a distraction from some personal stuff going on and it provided just the thing: a story I could get lost in and a heroine to root and cheer for. Add a swoony boy and you've just made me one very happy girl and I cannot wait for the sequel! There are still more secrets left to discover and more adventures to be had with these characters!

My rating: 5 stars

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Review of Half a King by Joe Abercrombie


Title/Author: Half a King (Shattered Sea #1) by Joe Abercrombie
Publisher/Date published: Del Rey, July 15th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: “I swore an oath to avenge the death of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath.”

Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.

The deceived will become the deceiver.

Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.

The betrayed will become the betrayer.

Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.

Will the usurped become the usurper?

But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi finds his path may end as it began—in twists, and traps, and tragedy.

So I read The Blade Itself about 4 years ago and while I liked it, it was a bit gritty for my tastes and I still haven't continued the series. But when I heard about Joe Abercrombie's YA series I knew I had to read it, because it sounded amazing. It was also one of the Top Ten books on my summer TBR list. And guys, I totally loved it!

I loved Joe Abercrombie's writing style, I just seemed to breeze right through this book, effortless reading because of awesome storytelling! Which was a different experience than I had with The Blade Itself, cause I struggled with that one a bit. But Half a King was a book that kept nagging at me when I wasn't reading it that I should really get back to it, because things were happening and I needed to know what those things were and just YES! A whole lot of YES because I've read a fair amount of books while I was on vacation and a lot of them were kinda meh but this kept me hooked during the flight back.

I really liked Yarvi. Yarvi is awesome. He has one not fully formed hand and it's made him the perfect candidate for mockery by a lot of people. I loved how smart he was and his sense of humor and just that he knows his limits and knows what he can do as well as the things he can't. And I also loved that he doesn't let it hold him back and finds a way to make things work for him, he is a man with a mission and I respect that. He reminded me a bit of Tyrion and that is pretty much one of the highest praises I can give a character.
And I also loved Nothing with his 'steel is the answer' attitude and just general badassness and a hint of madness.

So there's plots and treachery and unlikely friendship and bloodshed and holy crap revelations and just a whole lot of awesomeness to go around. Basically I'm saying you should read this, because I can't wait to get my hand on the sequel!

My rating: 5 stars

Monday, June 30, 2014

Review of Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo


Title/Author: Ruin and Rising (The Grish #3) by Leigh Bardugo
Publisher/Date published: Henry Holt and Co, June 17th 2014
How I got this book: bought it because HOW COULD I NOT??
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

***WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOR FIRST TWO BOOKS IN THE SERIES***

So you guys, I have finished Ruin and Rising... And I feel. Empty. And sad and just WHAT DO I DO WITH THE REST OF MY NIGHT and how will I survive not going on new adventures with Alina and Mal and Nikolai aka Sturmhond and even the Darkling???

So this actually says review at the title of this post, but it will probably be more me rambling. Just so you're warned.

It was a special kind of torture being away on vacation while this book was coming out and KNOWING that it had been delivered at my neighbour's house and knowing I'd have to avoid all things even remotely spoilery because I just needed to experience this final book in the series for myself and not have heard anything about it before reading it. And it was GLORIOUS.
I was both dreading this and eager to get my hands on it because you just never know ok? That last book in the series can either make it the most amazing thing you've ever read or just leave you going what just happened to all this promise in the first couple of books??
And I'm very happy to say that I shouldn't have worried so much, because Leigh Bardugo delivered with Ruin and Rising. It was full of high stakes and amazing dialogue and heartbreak and she just ruined me with this book ok?? And I am NOT OK. I want to re-read the whole series and not let go of these characters because I just cannot. I'm not ready to be left here while they go on their off-page adventures and lead out the rest of their lives and I AM NOT A PART OF IT.

I feel very strongly about this book and the series as a whole, if you hadn't noticed before.

Basically, this is me right now:


YES I GIF-ED IT.

Do I actually need to talk about the content other than my feelings? Ok.

There's the Grisha lore that I've come to love over the course of this series and that I'm still itching to learn more about. There's Alina, who although she has come out of her last battle weakened, is stronger than she was before. There's the boy who in my eyes redeems himself, even though I already know that not everyone will agree with me on this. There's the ever charming and clever Sturmhond who stole my heart and who I wished we'd had even more moments with. There's an evil and humanity in the Darkling that were both astonishing to see. There were mindblowing revelations and twists and heartbreaking moments and just, Leigh Bardugo's ruined me ok? I just cannot do anything productive today anymore and I will probably end up hating my next read because Ruin and Rising was JUST THAT GOOD.

Sturmhond is infinitely quotable, but I will leave you with this one that I LOL-ed over:
"Saints, Alina. I hope you weren't looking to me to be the voice of reason. I keep to a strict diet of ill-advised enthusiasm and heartfelt regret."

It might take a while for me to be ok again. I have major series hangover.
Also, jut after I'd finished the book, Ordinary Love by U2 came on the radio and if you've read the ending of the book, you'll know why that was kinda perfect.

But basically what I'm saying is that Ruin and Rising was everything I never even knew I wanted it to be and it was amazing and if you haven't read this series, you should. Because it's awesome.

My rating: 5+ stars

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Review of Awkwardly Ever After by Marni Bates


Title/Author: Awkwardly Ever After (Smith High #4) by Marni Bates
Publisher/Date published: K-Teen, June 24th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: It's prom season at Smith High School and love is in the air... for some people.

Melanie Morris knows she shouldn't keep flirting with her best friend's brother, Dylan Wellesley, even though the last thing she feels is "sisterly" around the cute soon-to-be freshman. But attending prom with somebody else might mean losing him for good...

Isobel Peters accepts the fact that she's a huge geek, but she never expected renowned player, Spencer King, would want to get his hands on... her reputation. What begins as a bargain could turn into something real - or a Notable disaster!

Corey O'Neal is dating the boy of his dreams, rockstar Timothy Goff. But it isn't easy to trade in anonymity for instant celebrity status, especially now that swarms of protesters want them both banned from prom. Dating Prince Charming in real life is a whole lot harder than it sounds in fairytales.

Happily ever after? Try awkwardly ever after!

So I really liked both Invisible and Notable, though Notable had a slightly unlikely plot, so I was expecting some light fluff with these 3 stories and that's what I got.

I'd already 'met' Melanie in Invisible and if I remember correctly, her being in love with Dylan was already hinted at there, but as everyone knows, falling in love with your best friend's younger brother is pretty much a no-no. Except that it worked here. I liked Dylan, I liked that he was willing to put himself out there and be with Melanie, even if she wasn't really encouraging him so much. I thought Melanie should man up and own up to her crush to her best friend and I was a bit disappointed that part isn't in the story, so I hope that somewhere off-page that is actually happening.

I really liked the story about Isobel and Spencer King, because let's face it, Spencer King is hot. And Isobel is pretty awesome, she calls him out on his bullshit, even though she's somewhat afraid to admit to her own feelings. I think they're good for each other. I was actually kinda sad that this wasn't a full length novel, because I think a lot more could have been written about these two and their developing relationship and it was just a whole lot of cute.

So I was all ready to dive into the last story, the one about Corey and his boyfriend, but sadly, my ARC malfunctioned and I couldn't read more than 5 or 6 pages into this story, which was a disappointment.

It was pretty cute and fluffy, but it didn't make me squeal in happiness with the cuteness of it, and I have a couple more questions instead of closure, but I liked what Marni Bates did with these characters.

My rating: 3 stars

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Vacation Time!


Starting tomorrow morning (REALLY early), I'll be on vacation in Morocco! I'll be seeing beautiful things, eating delicious food and just generally having a good time. At least, that's the plan. So all will be quiet on the blog until then (not that I've been around all that much lately anyway, but still).

See you in two weeks, I'm off to stuff more into my suitcase :)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway of #scandal by Sarah Ockler


Title/Author: #scandal by Sarah Ockler
Publisher/Date published: Simon Pulse, June 17th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher for the blog tour
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. And especially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.

When Cole surprises her at the after party with a kiss under the stars, it’s everything Lucy has ever dreamed of... and the biggest BFF deal-breaker ever. Despite Cole’s lingering sweetness, Lucy knows they’ll have to ’fess up to Ellie. But before they get the chance, Lucy’s own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising pics of her and Cole, along with tons of other students’ party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral.

By Monday morning, Lucy’s been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc, mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal just weeks before graduation.

Lucy’s been battling undead masses online long enough to know there’s only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Game plan? Uncover and expose the Facebook hacker, win back her best friend’s trust, and graduate with a clean slate.

There’s just one snag—Cole. Turns out Lucy’s not the only one who’s been harboring unrequited love...

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo

I was really excited to be part of the #scandal blog tour because I'm always interested in reading a social media thing gone bad and while I'm not a fan of cheaters, I figured there was more to this story than the cheating. And while this wasn't my favourite Sarah Ockler book, I did really enjoy it!

Lucy isn't the popular girl and she's a little bit alternative and I liked it. She reminds me slightly of myself as a teen, the whole not speaking up for what you want included. Though I never did pine for my best friend's boyfriend. But I get how hard it is to stand up for yourself, even though I would have just liked for her to try and explain what happened to the school, even if she didn't have all the evidence. It was such a Lucy hatefest, I felt really bad for her. And I loved her sense of humor. And that she has a dog name Night of the Living Dog. Best name ever.

I'm still not 100% sure how I feel about Cole. I mean, on one hand he's kinda perfect for Lucy, but I don't really feel like I KNOW him and I wasn't all that invested in the romance part of the novel, which is a rare thing for me. He doesn't pop up nearly enough, though the banter between him and Lucy was awesome. I just wish there'd been more of it.

I wasn't really a fan of Lucy's so-called friends, these two girls are really not great friend material, and even though I get that Ellie would be hurt by what happened, she didn't even want to listen to what Lucy had to say. After so many years of friendship, that's the least I would expect. And don't even get me started on Griffin, that girl was just weird.
I liked the new friends Lucy makes a whole lot more. Sure they're the school geeks, but they're more real than the others and besides, geeks are my people.

So I pretty much figured two big things out pretty quickly, but the twists were really well done and I actually liked that I'd guessed it before the big reveal. I could see how things could get really ugly as a result of posting things on social media and how everyone always has an opinion about it without knowing the whole story. Also, teenagers are mean. Well, most of them. I was I think.

So I did really like #scandal, though I think The Book of Broken Hearts had a way bigger impact on me reading-wise. This was nice, but didn't get under my skin as much. And I would have liked to see more of the romance, as that's the whole reason why this happened, I would have liked to believe in it a bit more.

My rating: 3,5 stars

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sarah Ockler is the bestselling author of novels for teens, including The Book of Broken Hearts, Bittersweet, Fixing Delilah, and the critically acclaimed Twenty Boy Summer, a YALSA Teens' Top Ten nominee and IndieNext List pick. Her latest, #scandal, hits the shelves in June 2014.

Sarah is a champion cupcake eater, coffee drinker, night person, and bookworm. When she's not writing or reading at home in Colorado, she enjoys taking pictures, hugging trees, and road-tripping through the country with her husband, Alex.

AUTHOR LINKS:
Website: http://sarahockler.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2188726.Sarah_Ockler
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sarahockler
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sarahockler

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

Win a prize pack with 4 Signed HB of Sarah Ockler's books: (Twenty Boy Summer, Fixing Delilah, Bittersweet, and The Book of Broken Hearts) - US Only

SPECIFICS:
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